Friday, 4 August 2017

How to map a virtual world to a real space

In February 2017, together with World Wildlife Fund, ArtScience Museum and Google Zoo, MediaMonks launched a large-scale mixed reality experience "Into The Wild" to help people in Singapore experience the devastating effects of deforestation and learn more about some of the world’s most endangered species and their habitats. It was the world’s first Tango-enabled smartphone Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, and guided visitors through personalised digital adventures, which started with AR on the ground floor of the exhibition space, before transitioning to full VR.The end of the experience shifts back to AR, where users go up to the fourth floor for an experience that includes planting a virtual tree.Transforming over 1,000 square meters of the Singapore ArtScience Museum into a virtual, interactive rainforest, making it the largest AR experience in the world, and second ever AR museum experience developed using Google Tango.
And it wasn’t easy. From a technical perspective, we faced the massive challenge of how to accurately and smoothly map a virtual rainforest onto a physical and dynamic museum space, making sure the walls aligned with trees, corridors with the forest’s paths, and that we worked our way around the museum’s existing exhibitions and staging. 

So how did we do it?
To start with, if you’re augmenting the real world with virtual objects, it’s important that the device rendering your view (such as a smartphone, monitor, CAVE or head mounted device) is exactly aware of where it is in the real world.

For this, a device needs to know its position and orientation in a three-dimensional space.

In the case of Tango, where the augmentation happens on a camera feed, the position and orientation of the rendering device needs to be in real world coordinates. Only if the position and orientation of a Tango device is reported accurately, and fast enough, proper augmented reality is possible.The fact that Google Tango does this for you is very cool because it allows developers to augment real world locations within their own virtual world which is different from Snapchat-like AR which, for example, augments bunny ears to your head.

With real world bound augmentations, you can potentially create shared AR experiences that revolve around and involve landmarks.In this case, it allowed us to transform the ArtScience Museum into a lush virtual rainforest and from the user’s perspective, exploring the rainforest becomes as natural as exploring the museum itself because every corridor or obstacle in the virtual world matches a corridor or obstacle in the real one.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Black holes lurking at the centre of galaxies could kill stars

The Universe looks very different today compared to how it looked 12 billion years ago. Galaxies once ‘hotspots’ where billions of stars were created are now cosmic graveyards, and exactly what killed these stars has been a mystery until now. Research published today says these galaxies stopped making stars because of black holes lurking at their centres.Astronomers at the University of Iowa studied a few of these galaxies that are still star-making factories, known as dusty starburst galaxies, and found quasars at the centre of four of them.Quasars are extremely bright sources of radio waves, which are powered by disks of matter rotating around supermassive black holes.Stars survive by burning hydrogen gas as fuel, and when this runs out they start to die. The team’s paper argues these quasars are the reason these dusty starburst galaxies became extinct, by ejecting gas far away from the galaxies and starving the stars of their fuel. “The surprising part of the finding is that, although the new ALMA observations located these quasars right at the centres of dusty starburst galaxies, these quasars look the same as other quasars living in normal galaxies,” Hai Fu, assistant professor at the University of Iowa and the paper's first author, told WIRED.

Quasars should not be detectable in dusty starburst galaxies because the light would be absorbed, or blocked, by the dust and gas churned up by the process of star formation.
Fu added: “The starburst galaxies hosting these quasars look the same as other starbursts that don't appear to host quasars.” This means, Fu says, there may be a quasar at the centre of every dusty starburst galaxy, it just cannot be seen. In these particular galaxies where they have been spotted, the researchers think the quasars are peeking out from deep holes, a vacuum free of debris that allows light to escape its cloudy surroundings.

"It's a rare case of geometry lining up," says Jacob Isbell, the paper's second author. "And that hole happens to be aligned with our line of sight."

Monday, 31 July 2017

Brexit Britain must move fast to keep data flowing with Europe

Once the UK has worked out trade, immigration, fisheries and pretty much anything else you think of, Brexit negotiators will be left with one final headache: data sharing. Cross-border data sharing is governed by well-established laws and allows for unfettered trade and sharing of law enforcement information. Although the government claims it is committed to maintaining this, a Lords sub-committee has warned the government is showing a striking “lack of detail” on its plan. This is despite trade in digital services accounting for 44 per cent of the UK’s total global exports. Three-quarters of that data sharing is with EU states. Operations such as the Internet Watch Foundation’s Hash List, which assigns unique signifiers to criminal images and videos posted online, such as child sexual abuse, rely on this framework to share data with law enforcement agencies globally. If negotiations falter, institutional norms such as unhindered sharing of the European Criminal Records Information System could be threatened.While Theresa May is committed to removing the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Lords report is not so sure. Data going from the EU to the UK will still be subject to the same laws, so operating under a different system seems an incongruous and costly choice.


Stewart Room, who heads up cyber security and data protection at PwC and submitted evidence to the committee, argues the UK will not be able to “escape the influence of the ECJ” if it wants to keep trade with Europe alive. Because the ECJ will still have jurisdiction over the flow of personal data to the UK, it could prevent that flow if it so chose “in serious cases”.If the UK is no longer subject to EU laws and regulations it will also no longer have the ability to influence it, the Lords report explains. It calls on the government to “secure a continuing role for the UK's Information Commissioner’s Office on the European Data Protection Board”. Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital, and Baroness Williams of Trafford, the minister of state at the Home Office, both “refused to be drawn on the default position” for what will happen post-Brexit. They proffered assurances the laws would be “compatible”. When pushed, Lady Williams said: “It is too early to say what the future arrangements might look like.”
The Lords recommended the UK government seek an “adequacy decision”. This is an investigation into how a country’s data protection laws sit within the EU’s own, followed by a ruling by the European Commission as to whether sufficient safeguards are in place. For this to happen the UK needs “to find a mechanism to trigger the Commission's process”, says Room, suggesting it could be a feature of David Davis’ Brexit negotiations.Room believes the chances of security an adequacy decision for GDPR are good. “The most significant potential barrier to an adequacy decision might be the UK's operations on surveillance for law enforcement purposes. However, the UK is a signatory to the Convention on Human Rights, is subject to the rule of law and there is strong judicial oversight of surveillance operations, which are arguments in the UK's favour." Many countries trade with Europe without such a decision, he points out. But that route would lead to expensive and time consuming “administrative hurdles".

Read more:- Dailystrength




Sunday, 30 July 2017

Is the tech boom at an end? London VCs aren't worried

The tech startup bubble may be over — though mega-deals suggest there's life in VC funding yet.A report from KPMG has revealed the number of venture capital deals has continued its "gentle" slide, down seven per cent from the first quarter of this year to the second and down by a quarter from last year.Investment is up 55 per cent this quarter to $40 billion from $29.5 billion the previous quarter, but that's been boosted by a handful of "mega deals" over $500 million including a record $5.5 billion raised by Didi Chuxing. The quarter saw the largest number of unicorns created in two years, with 16 firms valued over $1 billion. But even with such cash splashing around, funding is still down 14 per cent versus the same quarter last year, sparking Asus Customer Service Uk suggestions the tech startup boom has busted. Don't panic, says Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures. "First, it's worth stressing that according to these figures, Q2 2017 was the fourth biggest quarter for UK venture funding in the last decade," he told WIRED. "So rumours of decline are greatly exaggerated, and arguably there's been a massive 40 per cent rebound since Q4 of last year." Instead, it may be getting tougher for early-stage startups. "What does appear to be happening is a 'flight to later-stage' - the number of deals has roughly halved since 2014, whilst the amount of capital has remained about the same," Briggs said. There's still plenty of cash to go around, for those with proven ideas, at least.Why the flight to later-stage funding? Briggs suggests two explanations. "There is still a massive glut of capital managed from London — but unfortunately much of that capital is looking for high yield at low risk, which means piling into the companies that already seem like winners, in the B rounds, C rounds and later rounds," he said, which is why so much money is pouring into the likes of proven startups such as Deliveroo and Transferwise.

Beyond that, the apparent slide in deals and funding is merely the cyclical nature of technology. At the beginning of a cycle, funders favour smaller, earlier-stage firms, and as a given technology matures and potential "winners" emerge, larger piles of cash collect around a few companies.
"Arguably we are now in the late stage of the cloud computing, mobile, [and] social cycles, which generated vast numbers of startups, because of the low barriers to entry — there will still be more winners, but the big battles have mostly been won by the likes of Tencent, Facebook, Didi, Uber, Spotify, Salesforce, etc." As new companies emerge with fresh technologies — Briggs names AI, blockchain and synthetic biology — the funding focus will again shift to early-stage startups.Rob Kniaz, ‎founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, argues there never really was a bubble, particularly in Europe. "I think the later stage pre-IPO valuations in the US were bubbly, but that's slowly deflating as the Blue Aprons and Snaps go public and valuations creep down to more sane levels," he said. "Europe hasn't really had that inflation ever so we don't see downwards trends anywhere like what you'd see in the US." The KPMG figures suggest the number of deals slid to a six-quarter low, down 40 per cent from its peak in 2015.
Kniaz was particularly positive about London, which saw the number of deals fall but posted record investment helped by Improbable's leap into unicorn status. He said the capital "remains resilient", while Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, says his firm still saw plenty of opportunity. "Total amount invested in the UK is holding steady year over year," he added.
Read more:- PC Repair Service

Friday, 28 July 2017

UK could lose 30,000 fintech jobs after 'hard Brexit'

The UK could lose up to 30,000 jobs within the fintech sector in the event of a 'hard' Brexit, the Emerging Payments Association has warned.The concerns centre on 'passporting' rights, which allow companies to sell financial services to the rest of the EU, and are tied to being a member of the single market. The UK is likely to lose single market membership if it refuses to continue permitting freedom of movement from the EU, a situation widely dubbed 'hard Brexit'. "It's looking likely to be a hard Brexit," Peter Howitt, founder of Ramparts law firm and co-author of the EPA's latest report, said at the launch this week. There are 5,500 registered UK companies with 336,421 'passports' at the moment, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. HM Treasury estimates the market employs 60,000 people and is worth £6 billion to the UK economy. "We estimate 10 to 50 percent of those jobs could be lost, so up to 30,000", Howitt warned. "We're not all going to move to Frankfurt, but we have to do something," he said. "It [hard Brexit] will require us to look somewhere else."Although the authors said they had not seen any UK fintech firms apply to get authorised for a 'passport' elsewhere yet, many are seriously considering it. "We're not hearing many saying they'll leave fully," Howitt said. GoCardless, a UK payments firm with 100 employees, would consider opening a satellite office in another EU member state if the right to passport into Europe from the UK is removed, its legal lead Ahmed Badr told Techworld.

"It's not difficult for UK companies to set up an EU subsidiary to conquer the passporting challenge, and still be able to benefit from all the advantages of operating from a London base," he added. For now, the EPA advised fintech companies to follow one of three options: wait and see; hedge their bets and investigate alternative countries; or ignore the EU and focus on the UK and non-EU markets. The six countries most likely to benefit from a UK fintech exodus are Ireland, Malta, Denmark, Cyprus, Sweden and Luxembourg, according to Howitt and co-author David Parker, CEO of Polymath Consulting. Neither France nor Germany were recommended as potential relocation destinations for fintech firms.The decision shouldn't be purely based on tax and the cost of business. Companies also need to consider the political environment and whether they can form a good relationship with the regulator, the report recommended.  Howitt emphasised it is still unclear what the outcome of UK/EU negotiations will be.

"Many hope for a middle ground between the EU political system and the common market," he said. "We're still hopeful the UK won't lose common market rights, despite the dynamics in the press and political posturing."
Read more at : Dailystregth

Most infamous data breaches affecting the UK

It's tempting to believe that important data breaches only happen in the US and the figures tend to bear that out – the US accounts for the overwhelming majority of the really big data breaches that have been made public, some of them absolutely vast. But US laws and regulations force organisations to admit to data breaches involving the customer, something which is not true in all countries.In the UK, the most important piece of legislation organisations must worry about is the Data Protection Act and the possibility of fines by the Asus Contact Number UK information commissioner (ICO).  Below we offer what we believe are the ten most significant data breaches to hit the UK, not in all cases because they were particularly large but because of the type of attack or vulnerability involved or the sensitivity of the data compromised.Globally, the UK currently ranks a distant second behind the US for data breaches, which is no cause for complacency. Many of the breaches mentioned here happened in the last two years. Undoubtedly, larger and more serious breaches lie ahead.

Bupa (2017) 
Bupa has suffered a data breach (13 July 2017) affecting 500,000 customers on its international health insurance plan.The London-based private healthcare group said a Bupa employee inappropriately copied and removed information including names, dates of birth and some contact information, however no medical information was compromised. 

In a written statement, Bupa said that 43,000 of the total number affected had a UK address and that those that bought their medical insurance abroad could also be affected.
Read more:- Abilogic


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Spark Kids By the Clever Toys

Gone are the days when Lego was enough to cure childhood curiosity. From toys that teach kids about the principles of robot construction and coding, to paper planes you can pilot, WIRED selects the smartest educational toys in the box.At last: a paper plane you can pilot - just download the PowerUp app, reach for your Google Cardboard and enjoy a different view of the world. PowerUp has engineered an 80g paper-aeroplane motor with Asus Customer Service a built-in wide-angle camera, microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity with a range of 92 metres. Tilt your head to control its movements, and - depending on the design - your sheet of 120gsm can reach speeds of up to 32kph. £199
YouTuber Daniel Perdomo has taken the classic 70s video game and turned it into a real-world proposition. With no previous technical knowledge - the paddle controllers are made from old hard drives and engineering principles picked up online - Perdomo and his team have made the virtual tangible, without diminishing the game's appeal. $tbc
Maglev Model Train


The concept for the magnetic levitating train dates back to 1902; the first commercially usable track opened in Birmingham in 1984. While we're all waiting for the hyperloop to take the idea to the next level, here's a small-scale version for your kids to play with. Build your own smooth-running, high-speed maglev track (above), albeit one that fits in your living room. $tbc